Solutions can be hidden in plain sight

The answer to my problem was hidden in plain sight. I had foolishly used my band saw to cut through a plastic bottle of rhino glue to get at what still was liquid and usable. Doing this knocked the continuous metal band of saw teeth off their three pulleys. When I repeatedly tried to fix it, the steel band saw blade kept coming off.

Not knowing what to do, I called a retired Boeing engineer friend and asked him for help. In less than two minutes of examining the machine he told me the glue had gotten on to the metal band and the pulleys and hardened. Before the saw could be fixed, I needed to find a solvent for the glue and clean the blade and the pulleys.

He told me there are five major types of glue. Rhino glue is of the type called super glue. The solvent is acetone, also known as nail polish remover. I went to the store and bought some. Using a rag I removed the hardened glue on the metal band blade and the pulleys and successfully put the blade back on the machine. It stayed! Problem solved.

Why could my friend see in a minute what was invisible to me? He could figure out what the problem was because he was trained to see it. I wasn’t. This trait of being hidden in plain sight is a problem we all have in different areas of our lives, not just with band saws.

One recent example of this comes from a Rick Warren book-on-disc called “The Daniel Plan” that I am currently listening to. Warren is the head pastor of the 32,000-member Saddleback Church in Southern California and author of “Purpose Driven Life.”

Warren’s thesis is that America has an enormous weight problem caused by what we eat and how little we exercise. He believes if he can inspire the millions of American Christians to change their eating and dietary habits, then large food producers and grocery chains will have to change they way they produce and market food. It’s an ambitious and visionary plan. I hope it works.

Pastor Warren consulted two doctors when writing this book. He also used it to help 12,000 members of his church, including himself, to lose 250,000 pounds of excess weight during a year’s time.

After listening to the book, I suddenly saw what should have been obvious. We have brought on major health problems because as a nation we are eating wrong and we are far too sedentary.

Now, when I attend meetings where meals are served, I see all the highly-processed foods, the high calorie sodas, the pastry, the refined sugars and the unhealthy fats we consume that have made us a nation of predominantly fat people. Diet- and exercise-wise, we are a country at risk of heart attacks, cancers, strokes and diabetes, and the high medical bills that suck up our cash and fill our hospitals.

Would there be such a raging health care debate in our country right now if we simply took better care of our bodies through proper diet and exercise?

Just like my being ignorant of the damage I caused to my band saw by trying to use it to cut open a plastic bottle of rhino glue, so we must listen to the food and exercise experts to change our eating habits and get more exercise.

Who would have thought the solution to my saw problem could be solved so easily with a little nail polish remover? Who could guess that the actions of a few million people could change eating and exercise habits of a nation? Warren’s vision has the potential to be the solvent to change our country’s health habits. What he has done for us is what my engineer friend did by pointing out what was hidden in plain sight.